Common Cause v. Trump, America First Policies, et al.
On March 5, 2018, Common Cause filed complaints with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging reason to believe that President Trump and his campaign, Vice President Pence and his leadership PAC, the Republican National Committee (RNC), and a number of aides violated numerous campaign finance laws by coordinating “soft money” fundraising and spending with the Super PAC America First Action (AFA) and the dark money group America First Policies (AFP).
As the complaints state, “America First Action and America First Policies, not only were founded by President Trump, his campaign committee, the RNC and their agents – but continued to work in cooperation, consultation, and concert with President Trump, his campaign committee, the RNC and their agents.”
Multiple reports and public filings reveal that the President and the RNC treated the outside groups, able to raise and spend in unlimited amounts, as extensions of the campaign and party committee to direct as they saw fit. America First Action and America First Policies raised and spent millions of dollars apparently at the direction of the President and the RNC and are ramping up their fundraising and coordination for the 2018 midterm and 2020 presidential elections.
“Americans expect and deserve a President who abides by the laws of the land, but the White House, the campaign, and the RNC seem to have simply ignored restrictions on coordination with the outside groups in order to raise and spend millions of dollars in illegal soft money,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause. “These actions are the latest in a long list of the President and officials in his campaign and his administration simply ignoring the laws they find inconvenient. But no one is above the law in our nation, not even the President.”
“In their single-minded rush to raise and spend millions of dollars to influence elections it does not appear that the President, his staff, or the RNC made any effort at all to obey the contribution limits and coordination prohibitions passed by congress to curb political corruption,” said Paul S. Ryan, Common Cause vice president for policy and litigation. “The Justice Department and the FEC must act decisively to curb these abuses swiftly as these organizations have already raised tens of millions of dollars to spend on the 2018 midterm and 2020 presidential elections, have plans to raise and spend far more, and are showing no indications that they plan to begin obeying the law.”